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Funding forces sailor to quit

5th June 1997
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A LACK of resources is forcing Ireland's top-placed sailor at the Atlanta Olympics out of the race for Sydney selection despite the recent announcement of a £10,000 outstanding sports-person's grant towards her 2000 campaign. Aisling Bowman (28) became the first-ever Irish sailor to win a Eurolymp regatta at Anzio, Italy in February and placed 10th in Atlanta. She said yesterday she was resigned to the fact that to win a medal in the Europe class in Sydney she needs significantly more resources than the Irish Sailing Association (15A) can provide. Speaking from her home in Hitchin, North London, yesterday she said: "I don't want to appear greedy. I am grateful for what I have been offered but I am only interested in campaigning if I have a chance of a medal and to do that I need serious resources."
Bowman, who has been frustrated with a succession of 10th-place results, believes to get into the top five internationally she will need not only greater financial consideration but also access to information not available in Ireland. Olympic sailors had been unsettled by the period of uncertainty that existed during the dispute between the OCI and the Sports Council over funding. It was still unclear yesterday what would happen to the funding alloted to Bowman as it can only be drawn down for use in connection with a campaign. The ISA were hopeful of its redistribution within the rest of the team. The IOC have stated that equipment will not be supplied for 2000 which, says Bowman, will push campaign costs even higher. Richard Burrows expressed his disappointment that Bowman had pulled out but spoke of his admiration for the results she logged in her 1996 campaign. Meanwhile, Ireland's Finn campaign was set back yesterday when two boats travelling to the European championships in Spit, Croatia were damaged in a road accident in France. Both John Driscoll's and David Burrows boats have been shipped back to England for repair but will not be ready for the Croatian regatta where Driscoll was defending his 14th place overall in the world ranking lists. Debutante Finn helmsman Burrows (20) and travelling companion, Canadian helmsman Jeremy Miller (21) were unhurt.
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